Family Migration Rights
Earlier this month, the Migrants’ Rights Network (MRN) published a report into the family migration income threshold, Pricing UK workers out of a family life
The briefing paper, as explained in the Executive Summary;
“considers the impacts of the £18,600 minimum income requirement for non-EEA partner migration across the regions and countries of the UK. It uses Office of National Statistics (ONS) Annual Survey of Household Earnings data from 2013, broken down by parliamentary constituency of residence, to consider the potential impacts of this immigration requirement on workers across the UK.”
The MRN highlight the unequal effect of this blanket application across the UK. While, the income requirement is theoretically based on levels of self-sufficiency, in practice it places those who fall in love with a non-national in a postcode lottery based on their earnings.
The report notes that the disparity in pay across the country is wide, with 74 of Great Britain’s parliamentary constituencies’ average wage falling lower than the supposed £18,600 average. However, the further important issue is that in the same areas, the comparative cost of living was much lower as well. The reality of the situation is highlighted well by the story of Margaret:
“Margaret lives in the parliamentary constituency of Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire in South Wales. She has worked as a legal secretary for a private solicitors firm, earning £13,500 per annum, for the past 10 years. In December 2012, Margaret married Mohammed, a Tunisian national, having met him while he was living in the UK. However, in April 2013, Mohammed’s permission to live in the UK expired and he was required to return to Tunisia. Since then, although Margaret lives with her parents and has low outgoings, she has been unable to sponsor Mohammed’s return to the UK because of the income requirement. Margaret says “I’m doing a respectable job, but am now being told that my salary is not enough. It’s just so difficult to find work at £18,600 in my area. It doesn’t make sense because we could both live with my parents when he comes here, and Mohammed wants to work, and pay taxes, too. But if I leave and go to Tunisia, we will never be able to come back together. In the meantime, we are kept apart and are unable to start the family that we planned to have together.”
It is yet another example of the current trend of assigning financial hurdles to acquiring rights, this time the right to a family life.
The full report can be found at this link: http://www.migrantsrights.org.uk/files/publications/MRN_Family-Migration_Briefing-June_2014.pdf